Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spaetzle- This Time Very Orange

Now playing: Kasabian - Orange
via FoxyTunes

Sweet Potato Spaetzle with White Wine Sweet Potato Sauce

You can, of course make this dish less orange, but just as healthy and tasty with a lighter color variety of sweet potato.

Spaetzle ingredients:

2 c. flour
2 tbsp. semolina
1 sweet potato cubed, boiled until tender and mashed
5 eggs
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. minced fresh parsley

Mix thoroughly with a mixer.

The next thing is forming the noodle. I usually make a stiffer dough and use my trusty press. You can see the press in action in another of my blog postings:

My spaetzle press:

I realize that not everyone has, or wants to invest in a spaetzle press. Here is one of several traditional methods for producing spaetzle:

This method uses a board and you can spread the noodle dough over it near the edge. Next cut away the dough and slide it off the side into a big pot of boiling water. When the noodles rise to the top strain them out with a slotted spoon and into a bowl (or skillet that has a knob of melted butter, or sprayed with a olive oil spray). Then; when you have a full batch add to the sauce, or first toast them in a skillet until lightly browned, then add them to the sauce.

Sauce ingredients:

1 c. white wine
1 tsp. thyme
1 clove garlic, sliced
Sprig of parsley
1 tbsp. peppercorns
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 sweet potato, cubed then boiled until tender and mashed until smooth
1/2 c. heavy cream, or lower fat/calorie alternative

Reduce the wine by half by boiling with thyme, sliced garlic, parsley and peppercorns. Strain liquid. Discard thyme, garlic, peppercorns and parsley. Then, add vegetable stock, sweet potato and cream to the liquid. Incorporate throughly and thin with more stock, or water to desired consistency. Keep warm.

This dish calls for being adorned with caramelized onions and grated gruyere on top!

Caramelized onions:

One onion cut in half, then sliced. Spray a pan with olive oil spray, add onions and a tbsp. of brown sugar. Brown slowly on low heat, stir often. When browned and the kitchen is smelling lovely and people come out of the woodwork to see what is cooking, add a tsp. balsamic vinegar. Stir this in and keep warm.

Garnish with more minced parsley.

Best when served with a local beer!

This will be plenty for 4 people as a generous main dish.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baked Potato Soup Remix

Now playing: Robert Palmer - Too Good To Be True (Remix)
via FoxyTunes

I make a fully loaded baked potato soup, but here is a remix using baked sweet potato in the recipe. This version is also vegetarian, and I kicked up the amount of smoked paprika in place of the bacon I usually use.

4 lrg. baked potatoes
2 lrg. baked sweet potato
2 c. vegetable stock
1/2 a red onion diced and sweated

Add all these ingredients to a large soup pot. Using a hand blender, break up the potato, sweet potato, and onion until smooth and evenly blended with the stock.

Stir in:

2 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. ground cumin
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper

Add water, or more stock until the soup is the consistency you desire. Heat slowly until it bubbles and is heated throughout, turn the heat off. Then stir in:

1/2 c. sour cream

Gently bring back to desired temp. slowly on low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Top with anything that would be good on a baked potato. Things like chives, more sour cream, cheese, compound butters, toasted nuts...The sky is the limit!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sweet Potato Time- Sweet Potato Stuffed Portobello Florentine

Now playing: Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
via FoxyTunes

Here is a healthy dose of vitaminc A, B6, C, and fiber....That is just from the sweet potato. The mushrooms and pine nuts provide something to sink your teeth into in this vegan meal. The quinoa presents you with a complete protein. Everyone knows spinach and tomatoes are tasty and healthy go-tos.

The main players:

4 portobello mushrooms, skins peeled, or rubbed clean with a towel
1/2 c. quinoa
2 tsp dijon mustard
zest of 1 large lemon
5 oz. pkg fresh spinach
2 dashes balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 c. vegetable stock
1 large tomato, sliced in 4 slices, or 4 slices for each mushroom from smaller tomatoes
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350.

Grill prepared mushrooms. Set aside.

Bring the quinoa to a boil with 1. c water. Turn down heat to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add the mustard and lemon zest, mix in completely. Set aside.

Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the olive oil with the spinach, coat the spinach with oil and wilt. Finish with the vinegar, incorporate throughly. Set aside.

Boil the roughly chopped sweet potato pieces until tender. Drain and mash with the vegetable stock. Set aside.

On a small sheet pan place the mushrooms down and start to assemble with the remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper between each layer, as desired. Place the spinach on the mushrooms, dividing evenly. Set the tomatoes down next. The next layer is the sweet potato/quinoa mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through.


Watch this space for more sweet potato recipes!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gingernuts - The Great British Book of Baking

Now playing: Seals & Crofts - East Of Ginger Trees
via FoxyTunes

I am loving this book found in an after-Christmas sale. I will have fun cooking all the recipes in order, even though I already cooked a few out of order. Here is the first installment, as I start over from the beginning. Each recipe I have tried thus far has surpassed expectation.

The book has many beautiful illustrations of the different areas of Britain as related to the recipes. The recipes come from a television series where the baking was judged. There are recipes from home cooks all over Britain.

Stem Gingernuts- with a small change. Also, I have converted this for American kitchens.

12 oz. (350 g.) self-raising flour
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
3.5 oz. (100 g.) baker's (caster) sugar
3.5 oz. (100 g.) dark brown sugar (muscavado) sugar - The small change.
4 oz. (115 g.) unsalted butter
3 oz. (85 g.)golden syrup
1 egg, beaten
*2 lrg. pieces stem ginger (drained and finely chopped)

Preheat oven to 325deg. F (Gas mark 3)

Sift flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and baker's sugar in a bowl. Mix in the dark brown sugar. Gently melt the butter with the syrup, cool to barely warm. Pour this mixture into the mixing bowl of dry ingredients. Add the egg and stem ginger and mix with a wooden spoon. When combined roll into 24 walnut sized balls, using your hands.

Arrange on greased baking trays. Space them apart to allow for spreading. Bake for 15- 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy with a hot cuppa!

*Stem ginger can be a bit difficult to find at stores in the states, at times (in my area anyway). I usually get mine at my local Asian market, even they have short supplies sometimes. The alternative is to make your own:

Stem Ginger recipe:
1 lb fresh ginger root, peeled and scrubbed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups water
1 lb sugar

Peel, scrub and rinse roots, then soak in cold water overnight. Discard water.

Place in a pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil. Drain and repeat process 3 or more times.

Make a syrup from the 1 1/2 c. water and sugar. Add the ginger root and bring to a boil.

Cool and refrigerate.